Lady of The Roses
By Sandra Worth. New York: Berkley Books. 2008 $14.00 paper.
Sandra Worth, known for her beautiful Rose of York novels, has written a gorgeous, passionate novel about Isobel Neville. Isobel was a ward of Lancastrian Queen Marguerite, wife of the ailing Henry VI. But she falls in love with Yorkist John Neville, who is equally enamored of her. Fending off the advances of the Queen’s lover, Somerset, Isobel is determined to find a way to be with John, and John is determined to make her his wife. The writing is beautiful, drawing in the reader. The first person lets us experience the tumult through Isobel’s eyes, and live her always brave, sometimes frightening choices with her. The historical detail is meticulous and fascinating, the court machinations both mesmerizing and horrifying. The detailed research never gets in the way of the epic story; instead, it shores up the gravity and the despair of the ever-changing loyalties. This was an exceptionally painful period in English history, both in terms of political and personal costs. Set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses, this lush, exquisite novel shows how love survives in war. Most people only know a smidgen of the history and chaos of this period via Shakespeare’s history plays; here, one gets a glimpse of the individuals involved.
Sandra Worth holds an honours B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toronto. She is a frequent lecturer on the Wars of the Roses and has been published by The Ricardian Register, the quarterly publication of the U.S. Richard III Society and by Blanc Sanglier, the publication of the Yorkshire, England, branch of the Richard III Society.
She has won ten awards her Rose of York trilogy, including the First Place Prize in the 2003 Francis Ford Coppola-sponsored New Century Writers Award. Her work has been translated for publication in Spain and is forthcoming in Russia
Her website is www.sandraworth.com.